Administration snubs Medal of Honor recipients in naming Navy warships
The Navy has a long tradition of naming its ships after war heroes and significant military leaders. Occassionaly, a politician who stands out as a strong supporter of the Navy has been so honored.
But the Obama administration has mostly eschewed that tradition and has named many ships after liberal politicians and activists.
Democrat John C. Stennis of Mississippi, a legendary defense hawk, has an aircraft carrier in his name.
Democrat Richard B. Russell of Georgia championed defense spending as Armed Services chairman. Like Mr. Warner, his name is on an attack submarine.
In the House, the late Democratic congressman Carl Vinson has his name on an aircraft carrier because he championed a large, “blue water” Navy able to operate in all oceans.
“Carl Levin is no Carl Vinson, Richard Russell or John Stennis,” said a congressional defense staffer. “He has presided over the dismantlement of the U.S. military, which is an accomplishment for the Obama administration.”
Mr. Mabus, a former Democratic governor of Mississippi, has irked some Republicans for veering from tradition by naming warships after social activists and politicians with no link to the military.
Since the start of the Obama administration, Mr. Mabus has named combat logistics supply ships after civil rights leader Medgar Evers and leftist farmworker Cesar Chavez.
All previous Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships had been named for famous explorers or people who made significant contributions to the military, as called for in Navy conventions.
He named a littoral combat ship after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, who was seriously wounded in a January 2011 assassination attempt.
He named a San Diego-class docking ship after another Democrat, the late Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania. The previous nine ships had been named after U.S. cities, a park and a county, following Navy conventions.
Mr. Murtha was a Marine in Vietnam and supported the defense budget. He angered the Marine community in 2005 when he charged that Marines had killed civilians “in cold blood” in the Iraqi village of Haditha.
In January Mr. Mabus again broke with past tradition. He named a fleet replenishment oiler, TAO-205, after civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, George Democrat. Mr. Lewis voted for removing all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2007 and from Afghanistan in 2011.
Navy guidelines had said such ships are named for rivers or people instrumental to maritime and aviation design and production.
Only the Obama administration could name a ship of war after an anti-war liberal.
Statistics show that 100 Navy and Marine Medal of Honor recipients have had ships christened in their name, while 186 have not. With a wealth of options, including other war heroes and even some politicians who have contributed to our national security, you would think Sec/Nav wouldn't have any trouble finding fitting names for naval vessels. But naming ships for liberal activists who opposed the military is apparently more rewarding.